It always amuses me that the biggest praise for my work comes for the imagination, while the truth is that there’s not a single line in all my work that does not have a basis in reality. The problem is that Caribbean reality resembles the wildest imagination. — Paris Review - The Art of Fiction No. 69, Gabriel Garcia Marquez (via beachcombed)
If you don’t know who Johnnie Tillmon was, look her up.
Welfare is a Women’s Issue (1972) by Johnnie Tillmon
I’m a woman. I’m a black woman. I’m a poor woman. I’m a fat woman. I’m a middle-aged woman. And I’m on welfare.
In this country, if you’re any one of those things you count less as a human being. If you’re all those things, you don’t count at all. Except as a statistic.
I am 45 years old. I have raised six children. There are millions of statistics like me. Some on welfare. Some not. And some, really poor, who don’t even know they’re entitled to welfare. Not all of them are black. Not at all. In fact, the majority-about two-thirds-of all the poor families in the country are white.
Welfare’s like a traffic accident. It can happen to anybody, but especially it happens to women.
And that’s why welfare is a women’s issue. For a lot of middle-class women in this country, Women’s Liberation is a matter of concern. For women on welfare it’s a matter of survival.
Survival. That’s why we had to go on welfare. And that’s why we can’t get off welfare now. Not us women. Not until we do something about liberating poor women in this country.
Because up until now we’ve been raised to expect to work, all our lives, for nothing. Because we are the worst educated, the least-skilled, and the lowest-paid people there are. Because we have to be almost totally responsible for our children. Because we are regarded by everybody as dependents. That’s why we are on welfare. And that’s why we stay on it.
Welfare is the most prejudiced institution in this country, even more than marriage, which it tries to imitate. Let me explain that a little.
Ninety-nine percent of welfare families are headed by women. There is no man around. In half the states there can’t be men around because A.F.D.C. (Aid to Families With Dependent Children) says if there is an “able-bodied” man around, then you can’t be on welfare. If the kids are going to eat, and the man can’t get a job, then he’s got to go.
Welfare is like a super-sexist marriage. You trade in a man for the man. But you can’t divorce him if he treats you bad. He can divorce you, of course, cut you off anytime he wants. But in that case, he keeps the kids, not you.The man runs everything. In ordinary marriage, sex is supposed to be for your husband. On A.F.D.C., you’re not supposed to have any sex at all. You give up control of your own body. It’s a condition of aid. You may even have to agree to get your tubes tied so you can never have more children just to avoid being cut off welfare.
The man, the welfare system, controls your money. He tells you what to buy, what not to buy, where to buy it, and how much things cost. If things-rent, for instance-really cost more than he says they do, it’s just too bad for you. He’s always right.
That’s why Governor [Ronald] Reagan can get away with slandering welfare recipients, calling them “lazy parasites,” “pigs at the trough,” and such. We’ve been trained to believe that the only reason people are on welfare is because there’s something wrong with their character. If people have “motivation,” if people only want to work, they can, and they will be able to support themselves and their kids in decency.
The truth is a job doesn’t necessarily mean an adequate income. There are some ten million jobs that now pay less than the minimum wage, and if you’re a woman, you’ve got the best chance of getting one. Why would a 45-year-old woman work all day in a laundry ironing shirts at 90-some cents an hour? Because she knows there’s some place lower she could be. She could be on welfare. Society needs women on welfare as “examples” to let every woman, factory workers and housewife workers alike, know what will happen if she lets up, if she’s laid off, if she tries to go it alone without a man. So these ladies stay on their feet or on their knees all their lives instead of asking why they’re only getting 90-some cents an hour, instead of daring to fight and complain.
Maybe we poor welfare women will really liberate women in this country. We’ve already started on our own welfare plan. Along with other welfare recipients, we have organized so we can have some voice. Our group is called the National Welfare Rights Organization (N.W.R.O.). We put together our own welfare plan, called Guaranteed Adequate Income (G.A.I.), which would eliminate sexism from welfare. There would be no “categories”-men, women, children, single, married, kids, no kids-just poor people who need aid. You’d get paid according to need and family size only and that would be upped as the cost of living goes up.
As far as I’m concerned, the ladies of N.W.R.O. are the front-line troops of women’s freedom. Both because we have so few illusions and because our issues are so important to all women-the right to a living wage for women’s work, the right to life itself.
still relevant today
The New Jim Crow Reading Group, Chapter 2 | People's Task Force -
We will be meeting this Sunday at 7PM to discuss Chapter 2 of The New Jim Crow at Resistencia Bookstore located at 4926 E. Cesar Chavez St. 78702. Below is a link to an audio version of Chapter 2. Copies of the book will be for sale at the meeting as well.
“I see dreams as part of life in general, but reality is much richer.”
RIP Gabriel García Márquez
“Ultimately, literature is nothing but carpentry. With both you are working with reality, a material just as hard as wood.”
Gabriel García Márquez has just passed away at the age of 87.
1927 - 2014
bongsniffer:i woke up like dis
(Source: wilburwhateley, via brujacore)
3pm Saturday, 19 April 2014
allgo/Red Salmon Arts presents: Research for Action, Action for Change: A Community Dialogue
This community dialogue will begin with its starting point discussing the two papers David Glisch-Sánchez has written as a part of allgo's Brown Paper Series (the papers can be found electronically on the allgo website, hard copies will be available at the event). The papers were inspired by and draw upon the details and subsequent lessons learned from the tragic murders of Norma & María Hurtado in April 2011. Using these papers as a starting point we will discuss the daily social harms queer folks of color face. The dialogue will end with a consideration of what are practical strategies for social transformation that results in tangible increases in safety for queer communities of color.
1pm Saturday, 26 April 2014
Red Salmon Arts presents: Barrio Writers of Austin Live Reading
The students featured in the collections have attended writing workshops from various surrounding schools in Austin, TX & Orange County, CA. Please join us in supporting our youth and showing the world that regardless of the obstacles and stereotypes placed on our teens, they find a way to have a voice and teach us all life lessons.
5:30 pm Thursday, 1 May 2014
International Workers’ Day/Día del Trabajo 2014!
We’re having a May Day celebration with music, poetry, soapbox speeches, shared literature tables, film clips, food, an art clothesline, and official web launch for Austin Beloved Community! In other words big and chaotic with as much participation as we can get from all the organizations and people involved. All working class poets, musicians, artists, cooks, organizers, activists and everyone else is invited to come and participate in celebration and solidarity.
Día del Trabajo 2014!
Estamos planeando celebrar el Dia del Trabajo con musica, poesia, discursos, literatura, comida y el lanzamiento oficial de nuestra pagina web Austin Beloved Community (Nuestra Querida Comunidad de Austin)! En otras palabras una celebracion grande y caotica, con la participacion de muchas organizaciones y personas involucradas. Tod@s l@s poetas, musicos, artistas, cocineros, organizadores, activistas y demas personas estan invitadas a participar en esta celebracion en solidaridad.
Estamos planeando tener un area de actuacion. Si eres musico o poeta interesado en ofrecer tu musica o poesia favor de enviar un mensaje a email@example.com para reservar tu lugar. Tendremos comida de “traje”, asi que puedes traer algun platillo para compartir, si quieres.
Mas informacion: www.austinbelovedcommunity.org
Fred Ho, 56, Composer and Radical Activist, Dies - NYTimes.com -
Photo: Fred Ho in 2013.Joshua Bright for The New York Times
Fred Ho, a composer, saxophonist, writer and radical activist who composed politically charged operas, suites, oratorios and ballets that mixed jazz with popular and traditional elements of what he called Afro-Asian culture, died on Saturday at his home in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. He was 56.
The cause was complications of colorectal cancer, said his student and friend Benjamin Barson. Mr. Ho had been in a war with the disease — his preferred metaphor, which he expanded on in many books, essays, speeches and interviews — since 2006.
Mr. Ho, who was of Chinese descent, considered himself a “popular avant-gardist.” He was inspired by the Black Arts movement of the 1960s and by the ambitious, powerful music of African-American bandleaders including Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Sun Ra and especially Charles Mingus. But he rejected the word jazz, which he considered a pejorative term imposed by Europeans.
Self-reliance was a priority for Mr. Ho. He rarely played in anyone else’s band (among the exceptions were stints with the arranger Gil Evans and the saxophonists Archie Shepp and Julius Hemphill). Describing himself as a “revolutionary matriarchal socialist and aspiring Luddite,” he never owned a car and made many of his own clothes from kimono fabric.
Fred Ho in 2013. Credit Joshua Bright for The New York Times
Despite his determination to stand outside the mainstream, he found support from grant-giving organizations, academic music departments who hired him as artist in residence, and nonprofit arts institutions — including, in New York City, the Public Theater, the Kitchen and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Born Fred Wei-han Houn on Aug. 10, 1957, in Palo Alto, Calif. — he changed his surname in 1988 — he moved with his family when he was 6 to Amherst, Mass., where his father taught political science at the University of Massachusetts. He felt a powerful attraction to the art and rhetoric of black culture; as a teenager, he audited college classes taught by Mr. Shepp, the drummer Max Roach and the poet Sonia Sanchez, who were all putting progressive politics in their art. (He never formally studied music, but began teaching himself baritone saxophone when he was 14.)
In interviews, Mr. Ho recalled that his father physically abused his mother. “One of my first insurrections,” he told Harvard Magazine, “was to defend my mother against his physical beatings and give him two black eyes.”
In 1973, he joined the Marines, where he learned hand-to-hand combat, and was discharged in 1975 — because, he said, he had fought with an officer who had used a racial slur. In his 20s, Mr. Ho briefly joined the Nation of Islam and then the I Wor Kuen, a radical Asian-American group inspired by the Black Panthers. Like his two younger sisters, Florence Houn and Flora Houn Hoffman, he attended Harvard University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1979.
His sisters and his mother, Frances Lu Houn, survive him.
Mr. Ho moved to New York in the early ‘80s to pursue a career as a musician. He formed the Afro Asian Music Ensemble and became associated with other Asian-American musicians working on a newly emergent hybrid conception of jazz, including the pianist Jon Jang and the saxophonist Francis Wong. His first records, “Tomorrow Is Now!” and “We Refuse to Be Used and Abused,” were released by the Italian jazz label Soul Note.
Continue reading the main story
Continue reading the main story
In 1989, Mr. Ho had his first work performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the bilingual opera “A Chinaman’s Chance.” He then created two ballet operas based on the Chinese novel “Monkey,” by Wu Ch’eng-en, “Journey to the West” (1990) and “Journey Beyond the West: The New Adventures of Monkey.” Both used Mandarin Chinese in their librettos, and both reimagined Monkey, a trickster figure, as a political agitator, upsetting the power structures of the gods. Mr. Ho called them “living comic books.”
Other ambitious works, many of which were recorded, were on the subjects of Chinese folklore, physical combat, domestic abuse, the black power movement and revolutionary feminism — and sometimes all of those subjects together, as in the opera “Warrior Sisters: The New Adventures of African and Asian Womyn Warriors” (1991), written with the librettist Ann T. Greene.
That work imagined a meeting of Fa Mu Lan, the Chinese fighter who was the subject of a sixth-century folk ballad; Yaa Asantewaa, who in 1900, in what is now Ghana, led the Ashanti rebellion against British colonialism; Sieh King King, a young Chinese-American woman who agitated for women’s rights in early-20th-century San Francisco; and Assata Shakur, the Black Liberation Army activist.
After learning in 2006 that he had colorectal cancer, Mr. Ho documented his fight against the illness in a book, “Diary of a Radical Cancer Warrior: Fighting Cancer and Capitalism at the Cellular Level,” followed by another, more prescriptive one, “Raw Extreme Manifesto: Change Your Body, Change Your Mind and Change the World by Spending Almost Nothing!” He wrote about his treatment in a blog, naming the doctors he mistrusted, thanking his friends and theorizing about his illness.
In “Future’s End,” a lecture from 2010 that he published at the site of the artists’ collective Commoning, he wrote that the cause of cancer is “capitalist industrialism” and “social toxicity,” and praised Luddism, his philosophical passion, as the only alternative: “the opposition to technology (any of it) that is harmful to people or to the planet.”
Even in his final years, as Mr. Ho underwent multiple operations, he was still working: on “Deadly She-Wolf Assassin at Armageddon!,” a choreographed martial-arts opera based on the 1970s manga comics of Kazuo Koike, performed for two weeks at La MaMa in May and June 2013; on “The Sweet Science Suite,” for 20-piece band and dancers, dedicated to Muhammad Ali, which had its stage premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in October 2013; and on several unfinished opuses.
Correction: April 13, 2014
An earlier version of a web summary on a video with this article misstated the date of Mr. Ho’s death. He died Saturday, April 12, not April 11.
A version of this article appears in print on April 13, 2014, on page A21 of the New York edition with the headline: Fred Ho, 56, Composer and Radical Activist. Order Reprints|Today’s Paper|Subscribe
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: STORM: A HAIYAN RECOVERY PROJECT!
CA+T announces a call for entries to its next curated exhibition, Storm: A Haiyan Recovery Project, to premier on CA+T’s website in November 2014. Storm welcomes artistic and scholarly works in all media that consider the social history, cultural politics, and symbolic dimensions of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. The deadline for submissions is August 1.
Follow the link below for more details and spread the word!